Magganitis Village / Part II

Giant Squash
These giant two-foot long winter squashes are starting to appear outside people’s doors. After going to someone’s house for dinner one night, we come home with our very own giant squash.
Giant Cabbage
Most Ikarians grow these large collard greens in their gardens over the winter. They are not available in stores.
Uncle Giorgos Goat
One of three goats belonging to Uncle Giorgos.

Uncle Giorgos is Mikalis’s elderly uncle, and lives below the olive grove in Paleohora. Most conversations with him involved shouting back and forth across the olive fields, so it was weeks before we actually met him in person.

Last Olives
Olive harvesting continues. Mikalis is rushing to get his olives picked and pressed before he leaves for Athens in a few days in order to be with a family member having surgery.

As it turns out, the ferry going to Athens that day was cancelled due to rough seas, and we saw him running to catch a plane instead (which he also missed, because he was still in the Magganitis cafe a day later, eating salt fish and drinking tsipouro (very strong pomace brandy).

Brining Olives
These are olives from this year, in the process of being cured. They are being soaked in water for several weeks to remove the bitterness.
Last Years Olives
These are last year’s olives. Mikalis tells us they are preserved in corn oil because olive oil causes them to spoil faster.
Mikalis's house
This is Mikalis’s house, which his great-grandparents built in 1908.
Mikalis's Garden
Mikalis shows us his garden, which grows on terraced slopes beneath his house.

Mikalis lives right next to the sea, and loves to have coffee every morning on his patio underneath his fig tree. He describes it as “parathissos,” the Greek word for “paradise.”

Mikalis Garden

Mikalis Garden

Mikalis picks tomatoes
Mikalis picks tomatoes for us out of his garden.
Mikalis picks a rose
Fragrant white roses.

Mikalis is retired, like most of the people who live in Magganitis year-round. Younger people must move to Athens, America, or elsewhere in order to find work, and can only visit Ikaria during the summer months when they have vacation. Many of the retired people who live here now spent decades of their lives in mainland Greece or America in order to earn money, and are now enjoying the relaxed lifestyle of the island in their old age.

Lambros and Athina
We are invited again for one last meal with Lambros and Athina before Athina leaves to spend the holidays with her daughters in Athens.

The meal includes a ziti-like meat casserole, savory pumpkin and greens pasties, and cabbage salad. Once again, when I tell Athina there is too much food on my plate, she doubles it.

Quince Spoon Sweets
Western-style desserts are not commonly eaten after meals, but it is popular to serve a small plate of spoon sweets. At this time of year it is usually quince.
Old Rose Bush
This rose bush growing near Lambros and Athina’s house is 150 years old, and produces extremely fragrant roses. It was brought from their father’s village, Chrisostomo, and planted in this spot by Lambros and Athina’s father the year he married their mother.

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